How does being a “chdo” make WHCHC different
from other nonprofit developers?
We are a mission-based private nonprofit entity
organized specifically to develop and operate
affordable housing for the West Hollywood community.
Most of our readers know that WHCHC is a non-profit 501(c)(3), but what you may not know is that WHCHC is also a Community Housing Development Organization, abbreviated as “CHDO”, and certified by HUD (the Federal Government Department of Housing and Urban Development).
CHDOs (pronounced cho’do) are mission-based private nonprofit entities that have been organized specifically to develop and operate affordable housing for the community it serves.
The words “for the community it serves” are key, because it is the special ability of a CHDO to represent their community and know their needs first-hand. There are lots of affordable housing developers who build housing everywhere, but they are not rooted in the communities in which they build.
CHDO Board of Directors members should not only represent a cross section of their low-income community and community at large, but have experience in a number of areas that will help drive the nonprofit’s mission and therefore the success of the organization.
WHCHC’s Board encompasses a broad spectrum of longtime West Hollywood community members as well as tenant representatives from our buildings. This provides unique and invaluable experience, enabling them to guide the corporation in a way specifically focused on West Hollywood community needs. The Board has experience in architecture, community relations, housing development, law, real estate, customer service, construction, banking, affordable housing funding, and financial analysis.
Strategic Planning is an integral part of the successful management of CHDOs. In order to help focus on priorities, affordable housing developers need to apply strategic thinking to management and planning decisions to answer the core questions of: “Where is it we want to go and what do we have to do to get there?”
WHCHC is fortunate to have three board members who are also residents of our developments, and each member brings with them a different background and skill set representing the communities we serve.
Unlike for-profit developers whose goal is financial gain, CHDO Boards are mission-driven, and their long-run success depends upon their ability to develop in-house staff capacity to manage development and work with the Board to maintain a sustainable pipeline of development to build affordable housing that is needed and supported by the community in which it is built. WHCHC is proud of the work it has accomplished and looks forward to continuing to fulfill its mission and goals.
Affordable Housing CHDOs “101”
HUD administers the HOME Program for CHDOs, the largest Federal block grant to State and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. Certified CHDOs are eligible to apply for HOME funds set aside specifically for CHDOs.
The HOME Program establishes requirements for the organizational structure of a CHDO Board of Directors, to ensure that the governing body of the organization is controlled by the community it serves.
At least one-third of the organization’s board must be representatives of the low-income community served by the CHDO. The CHDO Board of Directors must be both community based and independent of public and for-profit development entities.
These requirements must also be contained in the organization’s bylaws, the purpose of which is to ensure accountability to the low-income community, and independence from government and the development industry.